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Monday, July 8

Love is all you need by Susanne Bier

Women's cinema has always lacked the recognition or the opportunities to make it big in a male-dominated cinematography that praised only actresses and pushed other female initiatives to the side. Such a disparity will forever define the movie industry even if the achievements of women filmmakers - ranging from comedy and drama to animation or sport- are undisputed and truly remarkable. Susanne Bier is one of the most talented female directors, with a subtle eye for sensitive details and endearing nuances in her 2012 Love is all you need movie.

"When life gives you lemons, make lemonade" or fall for a guy who shares your interest in lemons and has the best lemon orchard in Italy. Ida (Trine Dyrholm) is recovering from cancer and heading for her daughter's wedding in Italy; distraught by having caught her husband in bed with a twenty-year-old, she bumps into Philip (Pierce Brosnan)'s car and has a meltdown. As suspected, Philip and Ida are both flying to Sorrento, where his son Patrick (Sebastian Jessen) will marry his sweetheart of three months, Astrid (Molly Blixt Egelind), Ida's daughter. A typical dysfunctional family gather up - the cheating husband, the accounts bimbo, Philip's mischievous sister-in-law, her bulimic daughter, Astrid's frustrated brother, an Italian bone of contention and tension begins to stammer. Meanwhile, Philip and Ida run into each other all the time and things start to look up for the two of them.

Lemons seem to be Ariadne's thread in Susanne Bier's movie, leading Ida, the hairdresser to Philip, the bitter businessman and giving them the chance to a new beginning. Lemons are witnesses to Ida's unhappy days and also guide her steps into the orchard of bliss; it is up to her to decide whether her tree of life will be a lemon or an orange tree. Predictable as the plot might be, it is Bier's talent that turns the story into a refreshing one. It is an honest movie about life as it is, with ups and downs, with unexpected surprises and hurtful truths, with second chances and strong, true confessions. The film is hand-shot, with breathtaking locations and vivid colours, spectacular spots and amazing scenery.  

As for the acting, one might think Pierce Brosnan is the cherry on the cake- and yes, he is really good-looking for a mature man, in his elegant blue shirts and with his dashing figure- but la piece de resistance of the movie is Trine Dyrholm, who is luminous and serene. It is almost shocking how she comes out of the water, bald, naked, with her visible mastectomy, yet with coy eyes and natural reactions; it is more surprising how convincing her charm is to the viewers and how appealing and beautiful she appears to be in Philip's eyes. Also, the film’s funniest and meanest character is Benedikte (Paprika Steen), Philip's sister-in-law, secretly coveting him and always gossipping.
Love is all you need is a feel-good movie that might not have the strength of the Oscar -winning In a Better World, or After the Wedding- Jensen and Bier's 2006 collaboration nominated for a foreign-language Oscar- yet it is romantic, refreshing, light-hearted. Susanne Bier took all the lovely lemons that life offered her and didn't make any lemonade, thus escaping the cliche, but made something even better: great movies. She is the Danish filmmaker that although emerged from Lars von Trier’s militantly minimalist Dogme school, made a reputation for herself as a confident female director.